Flashback: Opening of Royal National Park line for museum service

On the 1st May 1993, the STM reached a milestone when the former railway line into the Royal National Park was reopened for museum tramway operations. Railway services to the park had previously been suspended in June 1991 as a result of signal failures. With declining patronage it was very unlikely the line would be reopened to heavy rail trains. It was at this point the museum officially requested to take over operations on the line, which would eventually be granted in early 1992. The following months would be spent rehabilitating the line to carry the museum’s trams, including various track works, reinstallation of the crossing over the Princes Highway, re-erecting overhead wiring, and constructing a connecting track between south hill and Loftus Junction, which also saw the removal of the rail link to the Illawarra heavy rail line and curving of the track towards the museum. Opening day saw many prestigious guests attend including the then state Transport Minister Bruce Baird, as well as a series of news crews who documented the opening during their evening news bulletins. The days events were recorded by multiple members of the museum at the time, including member Richard Youl who has granted us permission to display his new digitised video of the event on this page. In addition to showing opening speeches and trips, footage of the original news stories by Channel 7 and Channel 9 is also included. We thank Richard for his generosity in sharing this historic occasion with us.

Video: Richard Youl